The chief executives of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic warned that without a clear indication of intent from the Government that aviation will restart in the coming months, the UK faces a year of limited connectivity to the rest of the world, and the economic recovery will be hampered.
They said that when the Prime Minister makes his announcement on the lockdown next week, a road map would be critical for airlines and consumers to help them plan for the summer and pave the way for the safe reopening of international travel.
Airlines also called for further economic support for UK aviation to stimulate and strengthen any recovery when it comes.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “The Prime Minister needs to indicate the intent for international travel to reopen again this summer and provide much-needed reassurance that travel will be possible, helping to restore consumer confidence.
“We do not expect travel restrictions to be lifted tomorrow, but it is important that the country has a clear view on the plan for international travel as we emerge from lockdown.
“We expect every other domestic economic sector, from hospitality to retail to leisure, will have a road map announced – so must aviation.”
Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: “We know people are looking for some reassurance about when they will be able to return to some normality.
“To be able to achieve this we need to know that Government is planning for travel to return when it is safe and stand ready to work with them on a road map that could help us reunite people with their loved ones or enable people to take a much-needed holiday this year.”
David Burling, of TUI Group, said: “We believe there’s a safe way to restart international travel by lifting travel restrictions on a country-by-country basis – ensuring that we continue to protect our health systems and the vaccine, but without imposing unnecessary restrictions.”
Sean Doyle, chief executive of British Airways, said: “The aviation industry stands with the Government in putting public health at the top of its agenda, but the future of the British economy and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people are at risk without a sensible and structured plan to safely restart international travel over the coming months.”